Summer’s coming around again — wahoo! That means we can pop our tops, drink in the daytime (within reason), and host some epic garden parties and barbecues.
As the evenings stay warm, the shindigs can run on into the twilight. The only issue is that once the sun goes down, your guests start dropping like flies.
It’s not long before your rager ebbs away into a mild get-together, then becomes a small gathering, and finally, well...you’re drinking on your own, singing out of key to Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus.
If you really want everyone to dance the night away, you’ll need to bring a little flair to your backyard, and in my opinion, tiki torches are a fantastic way to go about it. They’re the ultimate garden party mood-makers, and after hours of research, I’ve discovered five of the best you can buy.
A genius reworking of the traditional bamboo tiki torch, these beautiful Backyadda torches incorporate a wicker weave design that’s both unique and incredibly stylish.
They arrive as a set of six oil-powered lamps, each standing 59 inches tall, with massive 16-ounce fuel tanks that keep the backyard luau lit (in both senses of the word) for upward of 9 hours.
As they’re pre-fitted with fiberglass wicks that can potentially burn forever, you’ll never have to replace them, saving you money and effort in the long run.
Refilling oil torches can be tricky, but Backyadda has done a fantastic job of smoothing out the process with wide mouth canisters that help to prevent spillages.
Each torch has a sharpened end, making staking them in place a total breeze, and strung wooden snuffers let you safely extinguish the flames once it’s time to retire indoors — perfect!
- Aesthetic - The perfect blend of modern and traditional design.
- 59 Inches - They’re veritable beacons!
- Wide Mouth Canister - Refills are easy.
- Fiberglass Wicks - Saves you money on replacements.
- Price - Very reasonable considering you get six.
- Bamboo - Doesn’t last as long as metal or glass.
Featuring rubbed bronze-effect canisters, this four-pack of garden torches from BirdRock Home offers a sleek, almost Eastern take on the traditional bamboo aesthetic.
Crafted from high-quality iron and finished with a satin silver, they may not have the authenticity of the classic tiki torch, but they’re far more sophisticated and robust. Able to withstand more extreme weather, you won’t have to worry about providing them shelter quite as often.
Much like my top pick, they arrive with fiberglass wicks, so as long as you keep them dry, they’ll keep on burning night after night.
Another fantastic feature to speak of is the adjustable poles. Arriving in three parts, each one can be set to a custom height between 44 and 64 inches.
This variable height opens up more options in terms of placement and uses around your garden, which is great if you often like to shake things up a bit outback.
8.5-ounce fuel canisters offer roughly 6 hours of flickering flames and garden fun, and thanks to a wide mouth, they’re easy to refill if the party runs on.
- Variable Height - More placement options.
- Fiberglass Wicks - Keep ‘em dry, and they’ll burn indefinitely.
- Iron Construction - Weather resistant and durable.
- Wide Canister Mouth - Easy refills.
- Aesthetic - Very sophisticated look.
- Canister Capacity - 8.5 ounces is small compared to others.
If you like the idea of tiki torches, but you need to keep your garden safe for pets and children, I can’t speak highly enough of these solar tiki lights from Dikaida.
Who says you have to put up with smelly oil and constant wick and fuel refills? These 30-inch torches take care of business on their own.
Soaking up all that lovely sun in the daytime, they can run for up to 10 hours during a summer’s night and roughly half that during the cooler seasons.
They come as a pack of six, each lantern tooled with elegant patterns to increase the realism of the flickering flame LED bulbs within. They may not be the real deal, but in many ways, they are far superior. For flames without fuss, they’re the obvious choice.
- Solar Powered - Eco-friendly and low maintenance.
- Flickering Flame LEDs - Realistic flame effect.
- “Burn” Time - 10 hours in summer!
- Waterproof - They can handle the weather.
- No Flame - The faux fire won’t cut it for some.
- Reliant on Weather - No sun means shorter “burn” time.
Tiki is the OG tiki torch brand. They practically invented the torch industry over 60 years ago, and you can bet they’ve learned some things about making quality products in that time.
These 57-inch tiki torches bring the authentic bamboo look that transforms your garden into a tropical island in the blink of an eye — sounds pretty good, right?
This four-pack features wide canister mouths for easy refills, each torch holding a maximum 12 ounces of oil, which is enough to burn deep into the night. When the party pitters out, these torches follow suit thanks to the integrated snuffers.
Furthermore, Tiki treats you to some pre-fitted fiberglass wicks, so you can forget about buying replacements. Just kick back, relax, and enjoy your tropical island staycation.
- Aesthetic - Classic island vibes.
- Price - most affordable so far.
- 12 Ounce Canisters - Decent burn time.
- Durability - Bamboo will degrade eventually.
With four choices of stained glass to choose from, these tiki torches don’t just bring the light, they bring the color too!
Standing 66 inches tall when all four pole sections are incorporated, they’re perfect for boarding the social epicenter of your outdoor area.
They come in pairs, so you might have to buy two sets to get the full effect of their ambiance, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
Despite the glass canisters, the steel poles make them incredibly durable, so you’ll never have to worry about breakages.
Fiberglass wicks are included as standard - yippee - and the canisters have a 10-ounce fuel capacity, giving you a good few hours of firelight.
They also come with deck clamps, so you can fit them directly to your patio boards or even your fencing.
- Aesthetic - Glass and metal swirl look very elegant.
- Fiberglass Wicks - They really last!
- Deck Clamps - Offer versatile installment options.
- Multiple Colors - Add a tinted glow to your garden.
- Glass - There’s always a shatter-risk with glass.
- Color Staying Power - Color tends to fade in bad weather.
- Price - More expensive than most.
It’s not every day you go shopping for tiki torches, which probably means you’re not exactly sure what you're looking for. Not to worry, though. I’ve crafted this brief yet informative buyer’s guide to tiki torches to help you on your search.
Tiki Torches by Fuel Type
You may not have paid much thought to what fuels tiki torches. I know I didn’t before I conducted my research.
There are four fuels to choose from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. When shopping for tiki torches, deciding on a fuel type should be your first port of call.
Oil Tiki Torches
These torches run on kerosene oil or paraffin. You simply fill them up from the top just beneath the wick. The wick, held by a securing ring, then absorbs the flammable substance and can be lit.
How long the wick burns depends on what it’s made out of. Cotton wicks tend to burn for a few hours, while fiberglass wicks will last indefinitely as long as you keep them dry.
Oil-based tiki torches tend to be pretty affordable — hurray! The only issues are that they’re quite odorous and not too environmentally friendly — boo!
Citronella Tiki Torches
Citronella is another type of oil, so the refill process is no different from standard oil-fueled tiki torches. What is different about citronella is that it emits very little smoke — great for the asthmatics at the party.
Citronella also has insect repellent qualities, which is why you’ll often see citronella candles on the shelves of your local home store.
The gnat problem on summer evenings is REAL. Unless you want your guests to get eaten alive, I’d highly recommend investing in some sort of citronella product.
Citronella tiki torches are more expensive for the most part, so if you settle on a different fuel type, why not invest in something like these Citronella Candles to keep the bugs at bay.
Propane/Gas Tiki Torches
If you’re after a truly premium tiki torch, you should consider choosing a propane or gas-powered variant. Siphoning gas from a tank and drawing it up the stem of the torch into the lantern area, these tiki torches create a strong, wind-resistant flame.
Propane/gas tiki torches definitely look the most impressive, and you don’t have to worry about changing wicks because they don’t have any.
The drawbacks in this instance are that gas and propane are more expensive to replace than wicks, and these sorts of torches are normally harder to install.
Solar Tiki Torches
Solar tiki torches are the only kind that don’t use a live flame. It certainly detracts from the authenticity, but they can still bring lots of flair and ambiance to your garden come evening, and they’re perfectly safe as well.
You forfeit the flickering flame, but what you get in return is more than enough to sweeten the deal. They’re completely odorless, smokeless, great for the environment, and won’t cost you a penny to run — beautiful!
They’re perhaps not quite as exciting as the real deal, but if you have children or pets, they’re the responsible choice.
Do bear in mind; however, that as solar lights, they’ll only work at full brightness after a sunny spell, which is fine for summer parties, but not great during the colder months.
Tiki Torch Dimensions and Placement
Having a bunch of live flames dotted around your garden may look stunning when the stars are out, but it’s important to remember that they’re potentially dangerous bits of exterior decor.
They need to be a minimum of 6 feet from one another and any other objects. That includes overhanging branches, unless, of course, you settle for solar tiki torches. If that’s the case, feel free to go wild; have tiki torches all over the place!
In order to keep your garden a safe environment for all to enjoy, remember to check tiki torch dimensions to ascertain whether they’ll fit where you want them to go.
Most tiki torches run about 60 inches long, but some have adjustable length poles that can reduce down to 30 inches.
Shorter torches are more suited to practical applications such as lighting driveways and walkways, while the longer ones are the perfect mood setters for garden parties.
Permanent vs Portable Tiki Torches
If you’re sure you want your tiki torches to stay in place indefinitely, the traditional installation method is to stake them into the ground and concrete them in place.
For a bit more flexibility, you can buy tiki torches with deck clamps or portable lanterns that can unscrew from their poles. You can then use the lanterns as tabletop decorations and lighting.
Tiki Torch Style/Materials
Tiki torches can be made of wood (most commonly bamboo), glass, or metal.
Wooden Tiki Torches
In my opinion, there’s no substitute for a bamboo tiki torch if you’re going for an authentic island aesthetic. They look amazing, completely augment the feel of the area with their rustic charm, and they are usually pretty budget-friendly.
On the other hand, they’re not as robust, so if you live in a climate that gets a lot of extreme weather, they may not be the best choice.
Glass Tiki Torches
Glass torches have an upmarket vibe, and truth be told, they can be pretty expensive, but they also look classy and beautiful. What’s more, you can get creative with glass colors to customize your social outdoor area.
Obviously, glass can be fragile, so again, extreme weather can be a problem. It’s best to keep them low to the ground or away from hard surfaces.
Metal Tiki Torches
Metal torches are a tasteful compromise of traditional and modern aesthetics, and they are incredibly durable too. As the premium option, they don’t come cheap.
Individual vs Set
Are you looking for more than one tiki torch, or will a standalone torch suffice? Both options are available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s finish things up with a brief tiki torch FAQ section!
Do tiki torches keep mosquitoes away?
Mosquitos don’t like smoke, so a gas or oil tiki torch should help to deter their presence in their smoke zones. For a more effective repellent, I’d recommend a citronella oil tiki torch.
How high should a tiki torch flame be?
Manufacturers tend to recommend a maximum wick height of ¾ of an inch for oil-based tiki torches. This will keep flames at a safe height.
For gas torches, you have more control over the nature of the flame, but you don’t want anything too wild. A small flickering flame of around 2 - 3 inches should be sufficient to add ambiance and light.
Can you leave bamboo tiki torches outside?
If the weather is stable, you can absolutely leave bamboo tiki torches outside. When the weather gets extreme, it’s time to give them some shelter. Store them upright so their fuels don't drip out.
Can you leave tiki torches out in the rain?
You can normally leave tiki torches out in the rain, but if they’re oil and wick torches, you’ll need to keep the wicks dry.
Do tiki torches explode?
As long as you use tiki torches responsibly, they’re completely safe. However, if you try to refill them while they’re still lit or hot, a small explosion is possible.
Always wait until they're completely extinguished and fully cooled before moving or refilling them.
How long does a tiki torch last?
The average burn time is roughly 1 hour, but if a torch has a particularly large fuel tank, you can expect it to last anywhere up to 12 hours.
When should I replace my tiki torch wick?
Cotton wicks will need to be replaced after only a few hours after being lit. As long as you don’t get them wet, hypothetically, fiberglass wicks can last for years.
Did any of my top tiki torches rekindle your party passion?
Based on the price tag, the style, and the expansive canister capacity, I think the Backyadda Decorative Tiki Torches are by far the best you can buy. The TIKI Brand 57-Inch Luau Bamboo Torches aren’t far behind, though, and their price is unbeatable.
That said, if bamboo isn’t for you, both of my featured metal and glass tiki torches have the sleek style and staying power you’re after.
Finally, if you’re something of an eco-warrior, you should go for the DIKAIDA 6PCs Solar Tiki Lights without a doubt. They’re green, clean, and self-reliant, proving that parties can be good for the Earth and the soul.